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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Judge's Corner

Morph Link

For all of you that have questions about Morph … Paul Barclay has written an article on the rules of Morph called, "Morph: Onslaught's New Ability." The article can be found at http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/feature/87. Now, this changes what I will or will not answer about Morph.

First rule is, read that article. It'll probably answer your questions.

If it doesn't answer your questions, you can ask, but I may or may not answer it. Something I still can't answer about Morph is, "What happens when my opponent doesn't (or won't) turn over his cards at the end of the game?" You'll still have to wait for the FAQ on the questions I don't answer. So if I don't answer a question, wait until the FAQ is out, read the FAQ, and then you can ask the question again.

Now, on to our regular programming…


Q: A curious thought just occurred to me. Are players allowed to call a judge on games that they are not playing?

Example: (Note that this has never actually happened to me)
I am playing a game in a tournament. I notice that next to me, one of the players makes an obviously illegal play (Such as the classic claiming that countered spells cause lands to not tap). His opponent is a newer player, and he assumes that since the opponent is older, he's honest. Am I allowed to call a judge on the opponent? What about other spectators?


A: Yes in both instances. Note that you do not _have_ to, but generally, it is a good idea. It is the responsibility of the players that are playing to make sure everything is right; however, if someone is trying to pull something over, you should generally call a judge over. Do not stop the game, however. Just call a judge and let him deal with it. Only a judge (or one of the players involved) can stop a game in progress.

14. Spectator and Press Responsibilities
Spectators are expected to remain silent during matches and are not permitted to communicate with players in any way while matches are in progress. Players have the right to request that a spectator not observe their matches. All such requests must be made through a judge.

Spectators and members of the press who believe that they have observed rules violations should inform a judge, but they must not interfere with the match.


Q: With Mists of Stagnation, is it possible to untap untapped permanents in order to avoid untapping opponents permanents?

A: Yes.


Q: How about untapping a permanent multiple times?


A: No. You must untap separate permanents. If there are not enough permanents on the board, just untap all permanents.


Q: I have a Phantom Nomad in play with Mirari's Wake on the board and a Pariah enchanting the Nomad. Assuming I block a trample creature with the Nomad (which doesn't make a lot of sense to block with this combo out, but I'm addressing a hypothetical that another player thinks is true) how much damage actually goes to me (and reduces my life total)? (Silly, I know, but this player INSISTS that I take damage.)

A: 0. Pariah replaces the damage to you with damage to the Nomad instead. (Note the word "instead" in the wording of Pariah. This generally indicates a replacement effect.) If there are any counters on the Nomad, then only one counter is removed.

Enchant Creature
All damage that would be dealt to you is dealt to enchanted creature instead.


Q: A Standstill is on the board. I attempt to play Fact or Fiction (not in response to the Standstill being played), but it is countered. Who draws the cards from the Standstill? Commonly I see the player playing the Counterspell drawing the card, but it seems to me that the player playing the Fact or Fiction should get to draw since the Counterspell resolves first. HELP!!!


A: Last time. Standstill triggers each time a spell is played. When the last Standstill trigger resolves, it is sacrificed, and the opponent of the player that cast the last spell that triggered Standstill draws 3 cards. All other triggers of Standstill will do nothing, as you can't sacrifice Standstill, since it is gone already.

Also, only one spell or ability resolves each time both players pass in succession. So you can wait for the Standstill trigger to resolve, draw the 3 cards, and then counter the spell that triggered Standstill. However, you must explicitly state this, or otherwise, it is assumed you are responding to the trigger with the counterspell, and the opponent of the person that cast the counterspell will draw 3 cards, as Standstill will trigger again.


Q: I have an Aluren, a Pandemonium, and a Gaea's Herald in play. (I have no blue or white creatures). So I can play a creature with a casting cost of 3 or less at instant speed (Aluren), that can't be countered (Gaea's herald), and have it deal it's power to target creature or player.

A: Got it.


Q: Now If I have a Silver Drake in my hand I can play it at instant speed. It comes into play (can't be countered) and deals 3 damage to anything. Now I have to return a blue or white creature to my hand. The silver drake is the only one I have, so I have to return it to my hand. Because of this couldn't I just re-play the Drake over an over until my opponent is dead?

A: Yes.


Q: If so, could someone deal 3 damage to the creature (instant speed) before it returns to my hand?

A: Yes again. They could also cast something like Swords to Plowshares to remove it before you could return it to your hand.


Q: I have one more along those lines. If I can discard a card from my hand to gain life or pump up a creature, could I do it infinitely with a Rancor?


A: No. Rancor only returns to your hand if it is put into a graveyard from play.


Q: I played multiple steroids (our name for Giant Growths/Sylvan Mights) on my Wild Mongrel, and then discard some cards and made him a 15/15 with trample. My friend blocked with Wall of Vapor. I told him the Mongrel would deal the one damage required to kill him, and then trample 14 to him, thus killing him. He argued that the damage would be resulted to 0 and need would keep doing so, leaving nothing to trample over. We argued, and in result I allowed him to declare extra blockers (all of his remaining creatures) and deal 8 damage to him. Who was right?

-Luke C.

A: 502.9e Assigning damage from a creature with trample considers only the actual toughness of a blocking creature, not any abilities or effects that might change the final amount of damage dealt.

So he takes 14 if he only blocks with the wall.


Q: Let's say that I am at 5 life, and my opponent had 3 cards in his library. On my turn, I draw a Deep Analysis and play it, and then flash it back, paying 3 life. As a "static response" he sacrifices his Barbarian Ring (which I had failed to see on the board at the time).

He would have to draw from my cards and could not and would have lost, and at the same time I died too?


A: No. You pay the 3 life (and 1U) to flashback Deep Analysis. This is a cost of the spell, so you pay it before Deep Analysis goes on the stack. Once Deep Analysis is on the stack, your opponent plays the ability of Barbarian Ring. This goes on top of the Deep Analysis on the stack. Thus, Barbarian Ring's ability resolves first, causing you to take 2 damage and lose the game before your opponent dies due to not being able to draw a card.



Q: According to the rules, if you had a Nightscape Familiar out, and cast Counterspell, (or something) the cost would be 1UU, correct?

A: No. The cost to cast Counterspell is {U}{U}, no matter how many Familiars you have.


Q: But, if you had two Nightscapes out, would the cost be 2UU, or UU, because the other Familiar cancels out the colorless. Can you provide some clarification?

-Aaron W.

A: You didn't bother to read the question and answer carefully, did you?

The question I answered was, "If I have a Nightscape Familiar out, how much would it cost me to Counterspell a Kaervek's Torch?"

Kaervek's Torch
While Kaervek's Torch is on the stack, spells that target it cost {2} more to play.
Kaervek's Torch deals X damage to target creature or player.

Counter target spell.

Since it costs {2} more to target the Torch with a Counterspell, the costs to cast a Counterspell on Kaervek's Torch is {2}{U}{U}. Nightscape Familiar reduces that by {1}, making the cost {1}{U}{U}.


Another reader writes in, with his take on what he thought the person was originally asking…

C: There was a question in your last article in which you were unsure of what
the question was asking, quoted below for your reference:

>>>Q: Do the Familiars reduce the mana cast of changing spell type (like
Kaervek's Torch)?

A: I'm not sure exactly what you mean here. Familiars reduce the total play
cost, which includes the {2} required to target the Torch while it is on the
stack. So if you wanted to play a Counterspell on a Kaervek's Torch, and you
had 1 Nightscape Familiar out, the Counterspell would cost you {1}{U}{U} to

I believe what the question is asking (and one that has been asked of me
many times) is this:

If I have two mountains, a Nightscape Familiar in play, and a Kaervek's
Torch in my hand, can I cast Kaervek's Torch where X equals two?

To which the answer is of course yes.

409.1b ..."If the spell or ability has a variable mana cost (indicated by
"X") or some other variable cost, the player announces the value of that
variable at this time."

So, I after announcing the Torch I would announce that X will be two. I
will then choose my targets. Finally...

409.1f ..."The player determines the total cost of the spell or
ability...The total cost is the mana or activation cost, plus all cost
increases and minus all cost reductions."

Which in this case would be 1R (X equals 2 plus R, minus 1 for the
Familiar.) So yes, indeed with two mountains I could do two damage to a
target with my Kaervek's Torch!

I know you could have figured that out yourself, but I figured I'd save you
the time of typing it out. Sorry for the long windedness.

-Ray Merz
Level II DCI Judge, Pennsylvania/New Jersey


Tournament Report - FNM - Orange, CA - Co-Winner

I finally got down to building the U/G madness deck that I wanted to play ... Here's how it ended up:

U/G Madness
Hybrid of Worlds 2002 decks: Cole Swannack, Alex Shvartsman, and Edward Ross

2 Aquamoeba
4 Arrogant Wurm
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Merfolk Looter
4 Wild Mongrel
3 Wonder
4 Careful Study
4 Circular Logic
2 Deep Analysis
3 Roar of the Wurm
4 Counterspell

2 Ray of Revelation
4 Seedtime
4 Sylvan Safekeeper
2 Unnatural Selection
3 Rushing River

Round 1 - Kenny - Squirrel/Opposition

Game 1 - I win the die roll, 6-3 and play first. I keep a one land hand with 2 Careful Studies. I make an error when I cast the second Careful Study, though - I don't pitch at least one, and probably both Deep Analyses I have. Needless to say, although my counters show up, my lands don't, and eventually, it's time to scoop em up.

Sideboard: In: 2 Ray of Revelation, 2 Unnatural Selection. Out: 2 Counterspell, 1 Aquamoeba, 1 Arrogant Wurm.

Game 2 - I start off by taking a mulligan. He decided he likes that so much, he takes 2 mulligans. I start off by Careful Studying a Walla into play. He then draws and says go.

Ummm, what? You kept a no land hand? OK then ...

I take some pain from my lands, and 6 from flashing back both Analyses, but after he kept the no land hand, it wasn't that hard to beat him.

Game 3 - He plays first. Although he is land short, he is able to get 2 Birds and an Elf into play, so he is not mana short. I counter his first Squirrel Nest, and Ray of Revelation his second. He then drops Opposition.

Oops ... ummm, yeah. I forgot about that.

I have enough creatures though that I am able to make him tap all my creatures for a while, and I have my land to play with. He taps all his blue in a counter war to resolve a creature (I think), and so I have an opening. I draw...

Me: "Unnatural Selection?"
Him: "OK.... Can I see that card?"

Unnatural Selection
{1}: Choose a creature type other than Wall. Target creature's type becomes that type until end of turn.

He doesn't get it until his next end step.

Him: "Go. During your upkeep..."
Me: "Wait. End of turn, make that Birds of Paradise a legend."
Him: "Oh. OK."

I end up killing a Bird and an Elf, and leaving him with 3 creatures to my 6. He almost goes to scoop up his first Elf that I make a legend, and I have to tell him it's only legends with the same name. He ends up casting Saproling Symbiosis during his last turn, but he ends up with only one saproling after Unnatural Selection does its work. I then come in with a Wonder-ful Walla, pumped by 2 Centaur Gardens, for lethal damage.

Games: 2-1, Matches: 1-0 (Whew.)

I then go outside to catch some fresh air, and come back in. The person running the tournament remarks that Kenny has come a long way in 3 months, and I would have to agree. I talk with someone else about Onslaught cards, and the tale of Unnatural Selection, and eventually, round 2 pairings go up.

Round 2 - Sugrim - B/R Land Destruction

I've known Sugrim for a while now. He loves to play land destruction. In fact, I've been known to put Sacred Grounds in my board if I know Sugrim's going to be there. But alas, I have to hope for a quick start, as I don't have any way to stop the land destruction.

Game 1 - I win the roll, 3-2, and play first. I make 2 mistakes in this game. First, I keep a one land hand with 2 Careful Studies. The Studies show me only one more land. Then, when I have one chance to use my 2 blue mana, I choose to lay down a Merfolk Looter instead of flashing back a Deep Analysis. He Terminates the Looter, and I don't see another mana until I scoop to a Blazing Specter.

Sideboard: In: 4 Sylvan Safekeeper. Out: 3 Roar of the Wurm, 1 Arrogant Wurm.

Game 2 - I only need 2 land to go to town, as I get down 3 Wallas and 1 Mongrel, and just go to town. Nothing much more to say about this game, sorry.

Game 3 - I mulligan a one land hand, and keep the second hand. I get the early Mongrel and Safekeeper. He Wishes for an Edict, and I counter it. He then Wishes for a Pyroclasm, and I Madness out an Arrogant Wurm, and only lose a Safekeeper. He then tries to Befoul the Mongrel, to which I pitch a card. I then draw another Safekeeper, and after he tries to Befoul the Wurm, I sac a land and win.

Games: 4-2, Matches: 2-0 (Whew again.)

I then go up to my friend Shawn, and he completes his win, when, coupled with the bye he got in round 1, puts him at 2-0. I have known Shawn for like 6-7 years, and yet we haven't been paired against each other once. I go to the person running it, and half-jokingly request that we be paired. (I know it's only about a 1 in 7 chance at this point, and I know it's random.) Then he makes pairings, comes out, and as I start to look at the standings, he says, "Your wish is granted."

Round 3 - Shawn Newman - W/G

We start joking around with the guy sitting next to us, and he asks about how we think the matchup is going to go, and I jokingly say, "It's called b**** slap."

Game 1 - I win the roll, 11-4, and choose to play. I get to take a mulligan first though. I get out an early Mongrel and Arrogant Wurm, and then pitch a Wonder to the Mongrel. Shawn comments on how strong that is, and he takes 7. I then notice I have no islands out, and chuckle. He only had a Walla out though, and made the correct play, as he puts an Armadillo Cloak on it, and starts to race me. I am just able to squeak through lethal damage at one point, and he scoops as soon as I pitch to the Aquamoeba that joined the fray a turn or 2 before.

Sideboard: In: 3 Rushing River. Out: 1 Counterspell, 1 Roar of the Wurm, 1 Circular Logic.

Game 2 - Shawn plays first. I get to take a mulligan before we start though (imagine that!). He gets an early Glory into the graveyard, but I madness some stuff out, and although I keep trying to prompt him with "Anything before blockers?", he doesn't think to use Glory's ability before I block. He also got out Spirit Cairn, and that messes with me, although only slightly. I eventually get the Wonder and go to town.

Games: 6-2, Matches: 3-0

Not quite b**** slap material, but a win nonetheless. I ask how much time remains in the round, and the answer is 15 minutes. Darn. I was going to go get some Krispy Kremes, but that'll have to wait for next round.

Round 4 - Frank - W/G Threshold

The 3 other undefeateds are Frank, Hunting Grounds, and Tog. I get what I think is the easiest of the 3.

I joke around and ask out loud, "How many mulligans do you think I'm going to take this match?" The consensus in the room is 2, with one person (Shawn) saying 3. I personally think 2 myself, as that's how it's seemed lately.

Game 1 - He brings out his "unlucky" die for us to roll. I see why it's unlucky - we both roll 1's the first roll! I then win, 18-3, and choose to play. I don't take a mulligan, although I do have a slow start (4 Land, Mongrel, Roar, Counterspell). We get into an early stall, and I Loot for a bit. He never gets threshold, and after he taps out, I swing for 14 (Roar token + 2 Arrogant Wurms). I then play another Roar token, and after he draws his next card, he concedes.

Sideboard: In: 3 Rushing River. Out: 2 Deep Analysis, 1 Roar of the Wurm.

Game 2 - He plays. I don't take a mulligan, although the quality of my hand is about the same as the first game (4 Land, 2 Aquamoeba, 1 Merfolk Looter). I play the Looter second turn, and Loot into everything I need to kill him.

Games: 8-2, Matches: 4-0

I go get my doughnuts, since I have like 35 minutes. I come back to find out Tog has won. We talk, and agree on a split. Round 4 ends like 20 minutes early, and they wait for about 10 minutes for people that left to return, and then he pairs it up.

Round 5 - Jordan Velasco - U/B Tog

Intentional Draw.

Games: 8-2, Matches: 4-0-1.

The person running the tournament gives us our packs, and goes to find a tax form for one of us to fill out. (First prize includes $25, and one of us has to be responsible for it.) He eventually finds one. I get to fill it out, as my tiebreaks after round 4 are insane. (68% to Jordan's 52%. I marvel at this, as this means my opponents have an average of 2 more match points that Jordan's. I would have thought it was exactly the opposite, as the people I played [I thought] weren't that strong.) He tells us our foils aren't in yet, due to some sanctioning problems with other events, and we can pick them up next week. Frown. Anyway, he hands us our money, and we get to leave early.

This is cool, as they are in the process of closing some lanes for roadwork on the freeway home. I get through with just a little slowing, but it would have been much worse if I had left 45 minutes later.

The tournament nearly completes my ratings goal all at once. I should get about 10 points for the night, which will probably put me at about 1743. So hopefully, I'll have it completed next week.

See you Thursday.

-Bill Guerin
DCI Level 2 Judge




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